Yet as Zuri and Darius are forced to find common ground, their initial dislike shifts into an unexpected understanding.
But with four wild sisters pulling her in different directions, cute boy Warren vying for her attention, and college applications hovering on the horizon, Zuri fights to find her place in Bushwick’s changing landscape, or lose it all.
Synopsis from Goodreads
The hardest thing that any adaptation is going to have to overcome is the expectations set by the original story. Often, these are stories that people have fallen in love with and have specific feelings or moments attached to, which can be difficult to match in a retelling. Pride and Prejudice is a classic story of girl meets boy, they allow their prides and prejudices to influence their impression of each other, and yet somehow they fall in love. It’s long been a favourite of mine, so I was really excited to read Pride, a modern day retelling of this Austen novel; Elizabeth and Darcy in the present day? Yes, please! Sadly, I didn’t end up loving this modern version as much as I had hoped.
Contemporary Setting and Issues
I liked that this was set in Brooklyn with teenagers who are very aware of things like needing to pay for school and growing up in a neighbourhood that focuses on togetherness. With such a diverse cast of characters, this version of the Bennett family (now the Benitezes) brings us into the loud, fun, overly-involved, family neighbourhood of Bushwick. The awkwardness of the Darcy family - and all their money - moving onto the street is the perfect way for the novel to introduce differing cultural and economic status that exist around the world. The themes of Pride - family, class structure, culture and race - are incredibly current and help bring Pride and Prejudice into the twenty-first century.
Did Not Connect With Zuri
Elizabeth Bennett is arguably one of the most famous and popular literary characters, a woman who stands up for herself and isn't ashamed to speak her mind in a period when being unmarried past the age of 17 was an embarrassment to the family. Generations of girls and women have connected with her story and been inspired by her choices; none of that came true in Zuri, Pride's version of Elizabeth. I found her whiny, annoying, meddlesome, and I just didn't care about her. Everything about Zuri seemed forced and she spends the entire book making mistake after mistake, without ever understanding why others might take offence. There were a few moments where her candor was awesome -- specifically her conversation with Darius's grandmother -- but for the most part, it was misplaced and I was often embarrassed for her. Maybe I'm missing something here, but I found Zuri was really frustrating to read about.
Conflict After Conflict After Conflict
Wow, did this book just throw one random problem after another at us, with almost none of them having any real purpose. While most of them align with the conflicts between Elizabeth and Darcy from Pride and Prejudice, the problems between Zuri and Darius seems trivial and forced. She is constantly freaking out on him for the smallest problem, perceived or real. They go to a music concert in the park... Zuri gets upset with Darius. They go to a party...Zuri gets upset with Darius. They see each other in passing... Zuri gets upset with Darius. And on, and on, and on. I honestly don't understand what Darius sees in Zuri; she spends the whole book telling him he doesn't belong and that he's a fake. There's probably an average of one conflict every two chapters and I got bored of it really quickly.
Overall, Pride didn't do a lot of me, and it's not a book I will go out of my way to recommend. I simply didn't connect with a lot of it and felt that there was often too much going on in the book to give us a concrete story. That said, I think there are a lot of people who will end up loving this adaptation of Pride and Prejudice and the way it brings Elizabeth and Darcy into the twenty-first century. This updated version of their love story will definitely engage a lot of new readers, which makes me really happy! So even if it wasn't my favourite, I think it's great that classic stories are continuing to be told so that new generations of readers can enjoy them.
FINAL RATING: 3/5
Hi, I'm Alexandra! I love reading (largely YA fiction, but sometimes I'll read "adult" books), playing board games, Nutella, and binge-watching TV shows on Netflix with my husband.
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